06-05-2016

US port results hit by comparison with 2015 west coast labour strife

US

OUT of the 22 major ports in North America that handled 85 per cent of containers in 2015, the top performers were LA and Long Beach, after achieving record container throughputs in January and February. 

But these ports and others experienced marked year-on-year declines in March.

The volatility in the first quarter was largely attributed to comparing this year's results to the volume growth seen on the US east and Gulf coasts in 2015 as cargo was being diverted from congested US west coast ports in the throes of a dock labour dispute, reported Seeking Alpha. 

This year, six of the 10 leading seaport performers were on the US west coast. Other standouts continued to include the Northwest Seaport Alliance, Oakland and Lazaro Cardenas. 

Most west coast ports witnessed solid export performance of between three and 10 per cent with exceptions being Long Beach and Prince Rupert with flat to negative 31 per cent performance. 

All west coast ports witnessed substantial decreases in imports from 25 to 30 per cent.

For the east coast, Baltimore and Miami followed by Virginia continued to achieve positive results throughout the first quarter. However, most east coast ports saw marked fall in both import and export volumes during March of between five and 14 per cent, with Charleston, Savannah and Montreal being exceptions. 

Charleston recorded import growth of seven per cent, while Savannah recorded just export growth of one per cent. Montreal's overall import/export growth was at one per cent.

All seaports on the Gulf coast achieved moderate improved container traffic during March with the exception being Houston, where imports fell 12 per cent, but exports rose three per cent.

Excluding the ports of Everglades and Jacksonville, total TEU traffic was up four per cent through March. The two excluded seaports reflected two million TEU during 2015 fiscal .

Through February, not one Class I rail operator witnessed negative container traffic. Through the first quarter, Union Pacific, Kansas City Southern, and Canadian Pacific all witnessed negative performance. 

The remaining positive performers saw their percentage performance decline between 26 to 82 per cent. These outliers were led by Norfolk Southern and Canadian National, while BNSF and CSX witnessed decreases of nearly 50 and 60 per cent, respectively.

Source: Schednet

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